Doug DeCandia is a local farmer employed by the Food Bank for Westchester and organizer of a group called Bionutrient Food and Farming in Westchester whose members focus on improving soil to grow food and other environmentally friendly farming methods. He and one of the group members, Ellen Best, have created some great videos to help farmers and gardeners improve their soil and grow better food. We have included a couple of these videos below with great tips on weeding and smart ideas about which vegetables to plant together as you think about next year.
Chop and Drop
While the summer may be winding down, the heat certainly feels like it is here to stay! Don’t let that keep you away from your garden for too long. With many vegetables still ripening, it is crucial that you don’t let weeds overtake your garden.
Doug has some helpful tips to keep your weeds under control without spending hours in the sun. Instead of meticulously weeding your garden and throwing them all into the compost, let them fertilize your plants! Doug has a simple mantra to keep you going: pull, cultivate, and leave in place. Some people call it “chop and drop” which is essentially letting the wild plants decompose right there around the ones you intend to grow. For the full details on how Doug keeps weeds under control, click below.
You might also be starting to reflect on your summer season and thinking about what you would change for next year. This is the perfect time to consider inter-cropping your plants. Inter-cropping is the practice of planting and growing different vegetables together, allowing them to play off of each other’s strengths while simultaneously making your garden stronger against plant-specific pests. Doug planted his green beans and fennel together, and now they’re thriving. He will also show you how planting the “three sisters” (corn, squash and beans) together works so well. Check out Doug’s full video below to see what crops to plant together and when.
And if you want to see an update of where the “three sisters” are today, check out this more recent video. For more information, this article contains some interesting charts listing what to plant together for use of space, healthy soil, and pest control. What inter-cropping will you do next year?
If you are not yet a member of the Bionutrient Food Association and would like to join, or would like to learn more about the organization, its efforts and its mission please visit http://bionutrient.org/,